Stephen A. Hopkins, Citicorp's longtime director of government relations, plans to retire April 30. He will hand lobbying duties to Gregory J. Koczanksi, who has led state legislative affairs for Citicorp since he moved to Washington two years ago.
Mr. Hopkins predicted a smooth transition. "We have had a gradual turning over," he said. "It has been going on for some time."
Mr. Koczanski, a 17-year Citi veteran, said he is eager to follow in Mr. Hopkins' "legendary" footsteps.
Topping his agenda will be pushing Congress to contribute $18 billion to the International Monetary Fund for the Asian crisis and protecting Citicorp's thrift charter-which the company has used to establish a nationwide consumer banking operation-from extermination by financial reform legislation. The company also wants lawmakers to pass a needs-based bankruptcy reform bill, Mr. Koczanski added.
In its biggest lobbying blitz ever, the Independent Bankers Association of America will spend more than $1 million to bring bankers to Capitol Hill to defeat pro-credit union legislation.
"We feel we are in a war here," IBAA president Bill McQuillan said. "Our story needs to be told. There is rhetoric on Capitol Hill that is just not true."
The money will come from the association's $20 million reserve. The group expects to pay air fare and hotel bills for at least 500 bankers, at $2,000 per head. Mr. McQuillan said the final tab could exceed $1 million because the group will not turn down any banker who can arrange to meet with either a senator or member of the House leadership.
The bankers will ask lawmakers to delay indefinitely a bill that would overturn last week's Supreme Court decision prohibiting federal credit unions from enrolling employees of several companies.
"This is a momentous decision for the financial system," said Kenneth A. Guenther, the IBAA's executive vice president. "Is Congress going to vote to allow unbridled expansion of subsidized financial institutions that do not pay taxes? That goes against the heart of the free enterprise system."
Mr. McQuillan said he hopes the other bank groups will support the drive. "I would make a challenge and invite the American Bankers Association and America's Community Bankers to do the same thing," he said. "It affects us all."
The ABA flew in 300 bankers last week to counter a lobbying effort by the Credit Union National Association, and 250 thrift executives are in town this week for the ACB's annual government affairs conference.